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Iraqi forces won't be ready until next year

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For you "timetable" fans, "a top U.S. military official" speaks:
Both Americans and Iraqis need "to start thinking about and talking about what it's really going to be like in Iraq after elections," said the military official, who spoke in an interview on the condition he not be named. "I think the important point is there's not going to be a fundamental change."

The official stressed that it was "important to calibrate expectations post-elections. I've been saying to folks: You're still going to have an insurgency, you're still going to have a dilapidated infrastructure, you're still going to have decades of developmental problems both on the economic and the political side."

Not only is Iraq saddled with years of Saddam's abuse and neglect and with centuries of backwards-thinking Islamic oppression, it is also struggling to rebuild while fighting off fanatic thugs bent on only destruction. And the anti-war wackos back here in the West want to know when we can leave. Here's a thought: maybe never. We're still in Japan and in Germany sixty years after World War II. Because we were "humane," because we did not utterly defeat and ruin Iraq but were merciful, it may actually take longer to bring that country fully into the world community than it did with our WWII opponents.